Winterization Tips For Your Home
Your home is a long term investment and in order to protect the investment you must make sure your home is ready for all the different seasons. The winter season can be harsh on your home since the freeze thaw cycle is especially tough on the house structure and components. By following the below tips and properly winterizing your home you can help protect your investment in your home and ensure it will last you for a long time.
Check Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are one of the biggest sources of entry for cold air during the winter time. Not only should you be Checking for gaps in and around windows and doors to save energy you should be looking at the exterior components as well. Any rotted wood or damaged components for windows and doors should be replaced immediately to prevent water from entering into the home where it can cause further damage through freezing or through causing mold. If the weather prevents you from repairing the windows and doorways then at least try to cover up and seal as best as possible those areas to prevent water and ice from creeping in. You will have to monitor those areas on a regular basis until a full repair can be done.
The caulking in and around windows and doors can wear out over time due to weather or insect causes. Caulk seals up gaps that could normally allow water to seep into a home. If that water freezes the chance of greater damage happing increases. Many caulks need to be applied in temperatures above 40 degrees otherwise they do not set or cure properly. If you need to refill gaps with caulk during the cold weather make sure to buy and use caulk that can be applied in cold temperatures otherwise the caulk could not set properly.
Outdoor Faucets and Plumbing
Any outdoor faucets that you have should be shutoff inside the house so there is no water in the outside spigot that can freeze and cause a pipe to burst. Some outdoor faucets are designed so you don’t have to shut them off inside your home. For these types of faucets you still should remove any garden hoses attached to the spigots as if water is slowly dripping into the hose that water can freeze back into the spigot causing your pipe to burst inside your home.
If you have plumbing located in unheated parts of your home (crawlspace, garage, or some other place) you need to make sure the temperature in those areas do not fall below freezing. While the inside of your house is kept warm the pipes in these unheated areas run the risk of freezing and bursting causing large amounts of damage in the process. If you do have unheated areas you should look into low temperature heating solutions to protect the plumbing from freezing. Many of these pipe heaters do not use much electricity as they only work to keep the temperature above freezing and can save you money on costly plumbing repairs and water cleanup if you do get a pipe burst due to freezing.
Your HVAC system should be regularly inspected and tuned up to ensure efficient operation. Over time as system components begin to wear down the efficiency of your HVAC goes down. Especially during colder months when fuel is burned to produce heat the risk of serious injury due to old or worn out HVAC components is high. If your HVAC is leaking poisonous gasses into your home you may not know it until it is too late (having a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home is important). Tune-ups performed by a qualified HVAC technician allow for a thorough check of your HVAC system and prevention of any hazardous conditions.
Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are the build up of ice on the roof of your home and that can cause water damage to the inside parts of your home. The main reasons for ice dams forming are due to poor ventilation in the attic and roof space. As the ice builds up and freezes back into the attic areas of your home condensation and melted water from the ice makes its way into the ceiling and walls of your home. Over time the water can stain ceilings, cause wood damage and allow mold to grow.
There are numerous ways to prevent ice dams including removing the snow before it has a chance to cause ice dams, installing heat tape, installing ice belts, improving insulation and ventilation in the attic and more. If you live in an area where snowfall is regular and your home is of older construction design you may suffer from the effects of ice dams. Consult with a roofing contractor to determine what is the best course of action to minimize the impact of ice dams on your home.
Seal Driveway Cracks
In order to extend the life of your driveway you should be closely looking at the cracks present in your concrete driveway. Even small cracks in a concrete driveway can lead to larger cracking later on as water gets into those cracks and then expands as it freezes. This will cause damage over time to your driveway making it necessary to have to redo portions or the entire driveway sooner rather than later. Check your driveway regularly and be sure to fill any cracks with concrete crack filler in order to minimize winter damage.
Asphalt driveways also suffer from cracking and should be sealed and/or repaired on a regular basis. It is easier to replace just a portion of an asphalt driveway as compared to concrete driveways where patching does not always produce a good long term result for concrete. By having your driveway sealed every few years and ensuring cracks are filled with asphalt crack filler you can increase the lifespan of your driveway.
Your home is a long-term investment that requires care and maintenance in order to retain its value and give you years of safe and healthy enjoyment. Wintertime is especially harsh on the interior and exterior elements of your home. By properly preparing your home for the wintertime weather you ensure you are protecting your investment in your home and will be able to enjoy it for a long time to come.